Of course the online Lego Community has been building super-sized RC bulldozers for some time, and this magnificent Liebherr PR 776 by Flickr’s Dawid Szmandra is one of the best we’ve seen yet.
With four motors, a Mindstorms EV3 for control, and perhaps the best brick-built bucket we’ve ever seen, Dawid’s creation gives LEGO’s 42131 set a run for its (considerable amount of) money, and it’s a creation you can build for yourself as he’s made building instructions available too.
There’s more of the build to see at Dawid’s ‘Liebherr PR 776’ album on Flickr, where a links to building instructions and even to the custom decals can also be found.
We like rule breakers here at The Lego Car Blog. Thus when No Starch Press offered us a sneaky peak into a book with ‘rule-breaking inventions’ written on the cover, we had a take a look! Well, one of our readers did, seeing as we don’t have a LEGO Mindstorms EV3 set in the office, and re-coding this site nearly killed us. However reader Wilson Luk is far smarter than we are, and a better writer too; check out his assessment of No Starch’s dangerous new book below!
For every new breathtaking advancement in robotics, 10 memes come out declaring the end of humanity (Boston Dynamics, I’m looking at you). LEGO appears intent on speeding up robotic dominance with the new LEGO Mindstorms 51515 Robot Inventor set, the much anticipated successor to the EV3 Mindstorms set. While the new set offers a bunch of quality of life improvements with its new app and native scratch and python support, no one can discount how the new Gelo build looks eerily similar to Boston Dynamics’ robot dog Spot…
Luckily, our topic today is a little more human-friendly. Grady Koch’s new book High Tech LEGO Projects demonstrates that there is still a ton of life in the older EV3 kit, pushing the boundaries of what the 7-year-old kit can do, without the whole world-dominance vibe.
No Starch Press has kindly provided me with a print copy for this review. My particular copy may be a pre-production copy as it has a bit of a raised splatter texture on the back cover. Nonetheless, the actual contents of the book is clearly printed on nice semi-gloss paper. Colours and text come out well, ensuring no issues following build and programming instructions.
High Tech LEGO Projects is the most recent book tailored towards EV3 users from No Starch Press. This time around, High Tech LEGO Projects introduces some basic circuitry and hobby-grade sensors to the mix, extending the capabilities of the ageing EV3.
A wide range of projects are covered in the 12 chapters of this book, with 2 extra projects available for download from the No Starch Press website. Each project showcases a different electrical component either to use with the EV3, or simply to add to one of your existing or upcoming lego creations.
Many of the projects will require extra pieces beyond what is provided in the EV3 Mindstorms set. Most of these can be found on BrickLink/BrickOwl, while many of the electrical components and tools can be found at local or online electronic stores.
Get comfortable acquiring the extra LEGO pieces, but don’t get too attached to them. Some of these projects are not for the faint of heart. The second project already has you drilling holes through TWO technic gearbox pieces! I can already hear the collective screams of agony right now. The first time I saw the picture demonstrating where to drill, my first reaction was to cover the eyes of all my Lego mini-figs.
As has been documentedherebefore, TLCB Team – as a rule – dislike cats. We appreciate that’s a controversial thing to say on the internet, which is very possibly ruled by cats, so prevalent is their content, but we’ve probably saidworse.
We do like this cat though, Sariel’s huge Caterpillar 797F dump truck – which is currently filled with Elves riding it up and down the corridor here at TLCB Towers – and it’s packed with functions.
Firstly, that enormous bucket they’re piled into features a remotely operable dumping mechanism thanks to a Mindstorms EV3 IR sensor, which we’ll test out on our unsuspecting workers shortly. The choice of a Mindstorms control unit is an usual one, as they don’t often feature in models here at TLCB, but Sariel’s decision to use one is rather cunning…
The Mindstorms EV3 not only controls the tipping bucket, it also measures the suspension tilt and applies an automatic motorised correction to keep the Caterpillar level. Self-levelling suspension is a system relatively common on SUVs (as well as mining trucks), but it’s one that requires such ridiculous ingenuity in Lego form that we don’t even know how Sariel began. But then our cleverness peaked with the title on today’s other post, so it’s no surprise that this is way over our heads.
Sariel’s Caterpillar also features remote control drive and steering via LEGO’s Power Functions system, non-LEGO ‘Baja Claw’ RC tyres fitted to standard LEGO wheels, and a host of accurate details and decals to replicate the real 797F.
This is a Liebherr LR 11000 crane, and it’s seven and half meters tall in its full configuration (or 2.5 metres when indoors so it fits!). Built in 1:24 scale, this brick-built behemoth weighs 27kg, including 5kg of lead ballast. Other than that lead weight, some string, and a few 3D-printed pulleys, the entire model is completely constructed from standard LEGO pieces. Which makes it even more astonishing that this enormous replica works.
Dawid Szmandra is the engineering genius behind the build, and yes this 27kg Lego creation really does work. With four Mindstorms EV3 processors, nine motors, seven light sensors and a touch sensor, this incredible creation can do everything that the real Liebherr LR 11000 can do. Only at one twenty-fourth the scale. Which is still massive.
The drive to the tracks comes from two EV3 Medium Motors, whilst another can rotate the entire superstructure. Five Large Motors plus another Medium power the six separate winches, whilst the sensors can measure the load and winching distance.
The result is a crane, built entirely from little plastic bricks remember, that can lift a chair. There’s only one way fully appreciate what this incredible creation can do and that’s to view it in action. Join us watching in amazement via the video below, and you can see all the images of Dawid’s unbelievable model at his Flickr photostream and via the Eurobricks discussion forum.
Time for some BIG news. Today LEGO unveiled the next generation of their incredible Mindstorms Robotics System, titled ‘EV3’. This isn’t just big news for the Lego Community, Mindstorms have taken the computing and robotics world by storm, with the previous RCX and NXT incarnations in use by many of the world’s top universities, NASA, and of course, the First LEGO League.
Due for release in the second half of 2013, Mindstorms EV3 will be faster, more intelligent and more easily programmable than ever before. And, for the first time ever, LEGO Mindstorms is now compatible with Android and Apple’s OS. Using the latest Linux OS firmware, EV3 has been designed with more emphasis and education; a complete sequence can be programmed in less than 45 minutes (so school classes can successfully complete a program in one period). Debugging is built in to the program; if the EV3 recognizes a command that doesn’t match up with expected hardware, it will immediately alert the user to the error.
As with the previous Mindstorms versions EV3 is open-source so it can be programmed outside of the Mindstorms software via programs like LabView and RobotC, as well is in other languages like Java. Expect to see some hugely advanced robotics hitting the internet a few weeks after launch.
The new LEGO Mindstorms EV3 programmable brick uses an ARM 9 300 MHz processor and has 16 MB of Flash memory and 64 MB of RAM (expandable to 32 GB with a mini SDHC card). There are 4 output and 4 input ports, as well as USB 2.0 for daisy chaining EV3 programmable bricks. A 178 x 128 high resolution display allows for graph reading and sensor data observation, while also allowing for basic programming via a three-color, six button interface.
New for 2013: Lego Mindstorms EV3 Elephant
Pricing and Release Date
We expect the Mindstorms EV3 kit to reach stores towards the end of summer, priced around £300 / $350, with a variety of bolt-on goodies released alongside the main kit, or soon afterwards.
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